Lakers Predicted to Make $98 Million Move Amid Free Agency Rumors

Darvin Ham

Getty The Los Angeles Lakers face a decision on the future of Austin Reaves.

The Los Angeles Lakers are headed for a fight this offseason as plenty of NBA teams are expected to make a push to sign breakout guard Austin Reaves. Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes offered predictions for the top NBA restricted free agents and has the Spurs making a run at Reaves. Ultimately, Hughes predicts the Lakers will match the Spurs’ massive four-year, $98 million offer to Reaves.

“We’re talking about a 24-year-old combo guard who played the point in college and posted an assist-to-usage ratio that ranked in the 91st percentile among wings,” Hughes wrote on June 5, 2023. “He is a preposterously efficient scorer whose 68.7 true shooting percentage was fourth in the league among players who attempted at least 450 shots, and he ranked in the 100th percentile (tough to beat that) in foul-drawing. He is either a star hiding in plain sight or an elite role-playing starter. Either way, he’s worth a ton.

“The most the Lakers can offer Reaves is four years and $51 million, but they can match any offer sheet from another team, all the way up to four years and $98 million. Controversial opinion: Los Angeles should expect someone to offer Reaves the max, and it should also match it immediately.”

The Lakers Can Match Any Offer Austin Reaves Lands as a Restricted Free Agent

Reaves’ future is a bit complicated as the most the Lakers can offer the wing is a four-year deal at just over $50 million. Yet, Reaves is a restricted free agent which allows the fan favorite to sign with another team, but gives Los Angeles an opportunity to match any offer. Reaves is headed for a sizable raise from his previous two-year, $2.4 million contract.

The former Oklahoma standout played a major role in the Lakers’ deep playoff run averaging 16.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per contest while shooting a blazing 44.3% from long range during his 16 postseason appearances in 2023. Reaves also helped Los Angeles turn things around in the regular season averaging 13 points, 3.4 assists and 3 rebounds per game while making 39.8% of his three-point attempts in 64 games, including 22 starts.

NBA Rumors: Could the Spurs Make a Run at Austin Reaves to Pair With Victor Wembanyama?

San Antonio suddenly once again became an intriguing free-agent destination after securing the No. 1 pick where the team is expected to select generational big man Victor Wembanyama. The Spurs are projected to have more than $43.5 million in cap space to utilize this offseason, per Spotrac.

Los Angeles has the ability to match any offer Reaves receives even if they are unable to surpass the $50 million mark with their own initial contract sheet. With the upcoming CBA changes, the Lakers need to weigh Reaves’ upside with maintaining financial flexibility for the future as it becomes more challenging to go beyond a roster with two stars.

The Athletic’s Jovan Buha expects the Lakers to “match any contract offer sheet that [Reaves] signs up to that $100 million.” Buha and HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto labeled the Spurs, Magic and Rockets as potential suitors for Reaves.

“The Lakers are going to match any contract offer sheet that he signs up to that $100 million,” Buha explained on a June 1 episode of the “HoopsHype Podcast.” “The Lakers view him as the third-best player on this team if you look at the regular season and postseason he had. He stepped up big time and was basically an 18-5-5 guy with near 50-40-90 shooting splits as a starter for them.”